Shalom, Mme Speaker! A review on the Red Sea Open 2010

Datum: Sep 9th, 2010
Category: Turniere

Getting into Israel is not so hard at all. Even if you are alone and come by land through Syria, Lebanon and Jordan you will be very likely to be welcomed warmly by the surprisingly young girls at the border post – the boys all sit around customs for unknown reasons. That is, at least if you wave around your Hebrew invitation the team of the Red Sea Open (RSO) preemptively sent out. Having discussed this tiny strip of land and its politics so many times, I was in additionally mentally thrilled to debate not only about Israel, but also in the country itself. I’ve had a good chance to do so just recently at the RSO from 29 August to 2 September 2010.

Hot debates in the dessert by the Red Sea (Photo: Stefan Zweiker)

Those who attended Koç Worlds remember what made it so great: luxurious hotel rooms, among other Can Okar and Will Jones as CAs, a sea and pool to swim in, a warm buffet thrice a day and all the beer a debater can hold.

The Red Sea Open not only had all that, but also Anat Gelber (best speaker at Berlin IV 2010) to complete the A-Team and fine Israeli and foreign judges like Derek Lande. Being less than twenty kilometers away from the borders to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, it is quite easily imaginable how hot Eilat is in summer. 45°C don’t surprise anyone in the dessert, but also don’t harm debaters in air conditioned busses, hotels and university rooms. So when talking about unbearable heat, the conversation was usually about this years Euros at Amsterdam rather than Eilat.

What truly made the RSO a recreational experience was its schedule. Allowing a full day for arrival and departure respectively, and comfortable six rounds over two days, interrupted by swimming and eating. It allowed enough time to either stay up long and still rest enough or get up early for snorkeling in the Red Sea. Even though the pool in combination with unlimited beer and spirits could have been enough for great evenings with old and new friends, we were brought into bars pubs and clubs, learned salsa and concluded the tournament with a pool party that truly deserved its name since it did mainly take part inside the pool.

Host of the RSO was the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. The Eilat campus, which usually focuses on tourism, not only accepts all major credit cards at its kiosk but also sells tobacco to its students. One of the little, but greatly appreciated features were also internet access both through wifi and the computer labs.

24 Teams from countries as far away as India attended the RSO, and the adjudication pool was huge – up to six judges per room! VDCH clubs were represented through Martin Zintl and Martin Svensson for Debattierclub München and through Leonhard Weese and Stefan Zweiker for Debattierklub Wien. Unusual were the cash prizes. After a humorous finale on missionary activities in Israel 500 US-Dollars were given out to the ‘Young Men’s Christian Association’, Yoni Cohen-Idov (also best ESL speaker) and Michael Shapira (Haifa/Tel Aviv). Neil Jewer and Hugh Burns (Oxford) shared not only top of the tab, but also 250 US-Dollars.

All the foreign participants were not only appointed goodwill ambassadors for Israel but also recognized as a true friend of Israel by the Minister of Tourism. Having experienced so many great things, met so many great people, seen so much of that great region and ate so much hummus it is very hard to leave Israel.

In addition, the kids at Ben Gurion Airport Security don’t make it very easy. No one appears to be above 25 and so it might happen that some girl with a huge gun looks at your new Ben Gurion University bag and says: “I have one too!”

  • Round 1: This House would actually build a mosque in Ground Zero.
  • Round 2: This Hosue believes that state subsidy for higher education should prioritize students whose parents did not have higher education.
  • Round 3: This House would allow the use of lethal force against intruders in defense of property.
  • Round 4: This House would not have a Facebook profile.
  • Round 5: This House, which is China, would cease all political and economic support to North Korea.
  • Round 6: This House believes that environmental terrorism is morally justified.
  • Semis: This House believes that multi national corporations should trade with rebel groups, and in the areas they control.
  • Finale: This House would ban all forms of missionary activity in Israel.

Text: Leonhard Weese / apf

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